NISD Teacher Residency program helps future teachers be better prepared

NISD Teacher Residency program helps future teachers be better prepared

Through a partnership with four universities, NISD offers a Teacher Residency program that gives future teachers a head start on their first-year of teaching. 

The Professional Learning Department oversees the placement of all clinical teachers (formerly called student teachers) in NISD due to the continual support provided to teachers from pre-service all the way to retirement.

A branch of clinical teaching is called the Teacher Residency program which involves specialized pre-clinical and clinical teaching experience. Unlike a regular clinical teacher who typically “student teaches” the last semester of college, a Residency participant can start during their sophomore or junior year.

 The Universities partnering with NISD in this program are Texas Tech, UTSA, Texas A&M at San Antonio, and The University of Illinois.   

“Anyone can apply to be a clinical teacher in 51, but if someone wants to be in a Residency Program, they must apply, be recommended and interviewed by their university, and then if they pass all that, their name is sent along to 51,” says Natalie Gray, Director of Professional Learning. “Then, they are interviewed by a panel at NISD Professional Learning Department, and if accepted, they will be in our classroom longer than the actual University calendar.”

What to expect

“We ask all our Residency students to start the day that our teachers are back on contract, so they can experience what it is like as a teacher from before students arrive through the last day of school,” Gray explains.

“By doing this, it is a much fuller experience and we are getting to grow them the way that we want them,” she said. “They are getting to attend a lot of extra professional learning.”

Gray stated that by experiencing the extra days and training, these students will be more prepared and know what to expect on the first day of school. 

“Because they have the learning under their belt, they’ve already experienced extended periods of time in the classroom with students, and received extra feedback from their mentor teachers and from their university professors, so they are just a better prepared day one teacher,” Gray said. 

In fact, the Residency program has such a great reputation that the majority of residency students get hired immediately, and the vast majority are chosen as First-Year Teachers of the Year by their campus.

“Principals share that the teachers who have gone through the residency program are better prepared than any other people they hire as a first-year teacher,” says Jenny Yim, K-12 Specialist in the Professional Learning Department.

When asked why someone would want to consider the program, Yim said, “it builds their confidence and gives them more experience so that they are not as overwhelmed in their first year. And being in the 51, they learn about the vast resources that NISD has to offer to help support them.”

From the graduates

Christina Cruz, Angelica Ruiz, and Alma Gonzalez are three recent “graduates” of the NISD Teacher Residency Program and all three are now employed as NISD teachers.

“The Residency Program is very supportive, is a great resource, offers a ton of workshops, and we learn something new every time,” Ruiz stated. Ruiz is now a fifth-grade Bilingual teacher at Passmore Elementary School.

“I love that we are coming out of this program ready to go, very prepared, and very excited,” said Gonzalez, who is now a first grade ESL teacher at McDermott Elementary School.

“The Residency Program allowed us to learn more about the life of a teacher, and showed us how a school operates through the lens of a teacher,” said Cruz who is now teaching as an ECSE teacher at Rhodes Elementary School. “I know what to expect—this whole experience has helped me know that I’m in the right career field.”

“I am a teacher at heart,” she added.